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Woke up with Green Day in my head. Sang Longview and American Idiot in the shower, swiped a cotton ball of witch hazel across my four-day stubble, still not enough to constitute shaving, thinking about my irrational fear of having a nipple fall off. Not so irrational as some, a scalpel

did trace each underside like the ocean-half of a beach-view sunset, a doctor did pry me open from this nickel-width entry point, did snip around inside, deconnecting tissue, and then, instead

of sticking in some version of a shop-vac meant for hospitals and sucking my loose bits out

through a plastic tube, he extracted the entire bloody mound at once, completely intact, a fresh slice of flesh laid flat atop my chest and captured in the camera of his iPhone. The body holds each trauma without hope of ever crushing it, as a baby squirrel in heart-close cupped hands, or a tarantula. Even when your brain drops the damn thing and acquaints it with the business end of a red-laced Doc Marten, your body is not so easily shaken. Peel me off this velcro seat / and get me moving can not be called an anthem for this portion of my life. In my sweatpants and strictly ordered button-ups, the more accurate depiction of my post-op post-partum was I sure as hell

can't do it by myself. Well, that's not entirely true. I did purchase a step stool.

Benjamin Rhodes

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